Written by Paul Whybrow
Both my teenage kids have been globetrotting far away from Sydney, my youngest in immersing herself in France and the other enjoying the historical delights of Europe. Naturally, I missed them – so how to share in what they are doing. When calling dad every day is just not cool!
I discovered the daily joy that could be delivered by the combination of a simple picture a few short funny comments words and a once off viewing.
I am talking about Snapchat, which I can openly admit am now totally converted too despite being decades older than the target user.
Months ago when my teenagers started using Snapchat I admit I was cynical. Why would anyone want to look at badly taken pictures and short comments that most the time you can only see once. My daughter and her friends loved it, and spent a ton of time sharing images of what I saw as the most mundane things “here I am heading up to your house”, “LUV this milkshake” or “what do you think of this outfit”.
I admit I just didn’t get it at all – as a social media platform for a fifty plus dad, I just didn’t see the appeal.
Then my two teenagers away in Europe, the joy kicked in. As my eldest was leaving he signed me up to snapchat, so I could see the images he would share with his friends and at least feel part of the journey. He also introduced me to the story feature with images lasting 24 hours before disappearing off into the ether.
Within a few days I was hooked – every morning I was reaching for my phone to look at the latest images from the European city he was touring. I came to love the instant style images and humorous comments on things that he knew I would find fun. It didn’t matter in the least that the images might be blurred or grabbed in a hurry; I felt I was experiencing some of the offbeat sights, as if I was there.
Rapidly I got right into it myself capturing images from beachside walks or activities at home scrawling my own handwritten notes.
The story of snapchat is both inspiring and controversial started by Evan Spiegel Frank Reginald Brown and Bobby Murphy as undergrads at Stanford University it is now a well and truly billion dollar business. It’s short history has a dark side emerging from the desire to send pictures that many would consider shouldn’t be taken let alone shared with anyone. Now though it is certainly mainstream with big sponsors and features like Snapchat Discover and video chat
From my perspective, it is really interesting how different social media services have had impact and others have not. Start-ups are all the rage again in Australia, especially since the debut of collaboration software Atlassian on the New York Stock Exchange in December. In reality, think it is no easy task to work out, what ones will work and what will be a massive hit for a short time and then fall out of favour – remember My Space myspace and in the UK Friends Reunited?
As the start up revolution winds up like it did at the start of the 2000’s, I think it there are still many great ideas which will be created, nurtured and launched, with a good many still leaving people not seeing the immediate consumer appeal, and then the users will fall in love with it and it becomes ingrained in our social activity. I may not want to admit it, but my teenagers may just be right here!
Now excuse me whilst I grab image to complete this blog.